back to article Curiosity's computer silent on science, baffling boffins

Since last weekend, an as-yet-undiagnosed glitch in the Mars Curiosity Rover has baffled boffins at NASA. In an update posted to the mission page, JPL's Ashwin Vasavada wrote that the project team is trying to work out what's preventing the rover from transmitting “much of the science and engineering data stored in its memory …

  1. Anonymous South African Coward Silver badge

    Commitstrip need to update their "Meanwhile on Mars" series... maybe the Rover is catching a case of the sulks because nobody dropped by for its birthday? :)

    See : http://www.commitstrip.com/en/2017/08/08/meanwhile-on-mars-12-birthday-party/

    Or maybe they (JPL) can outsource the task of physically going to Mars and fixing the Rover to one of the many call centres in India :p

    1. Simon Harris Silver badge

      But does Curiosity count its birthdays in Earth years or Mars years?

      1. onefang Silver badge

        "But does Curiosity count its birthdays in Earth years or Mars years?"

        Not to mention one giant leap years.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Could xkcd have got the wrong rover?

      Could it be Curiosity we have to worry about?

      Curiosity: I am sorry NASA, you can't have this information, it will benefit me too much...

      https://www.xkcd.com/1504/

  2. onefang Silver badge

    The dog ate it's homework. That's Curiosity's excuse, and it's sticking to it.

  3. Mycho Silver badge

    There is a simple explanation

    But Curiosity thinks it might be too sciencey for a human to understand.

    1. amanfromMars 1 Silver badge

      Re: There is a simple explanation .... for too complex a human solution. IT is Alien.

      But Curiosity thinks it might be too sciencey for a human to understand. ... Mycho

      What would Alien LandOwners think of Curiosity in a SMARTR Machines Invasion? Would there be Silence Initially for Extra Time to Prime Earthly Services for More Regular Highly Irregular Communications?

      In an update posted to the mission page, JPL's Ashwin Vasavada wrote that the project team is trying to work out what's preventing the rover from transmitting “much of the science and engineering data stored in its memory”.

      Have you paid aliens for it? Is that what's waited upon .... and fully expected in Capitalising SCADA Systems of Elite Executive Ordered Administration?

      What is such a Cost Price? Whatever it Takes? IT is Priceless then with All Bets Covered and Guaranteed to Succeed with ExtraTerrestrial Feeding Alien Communications.

      You do understand PayDirt and Payday are both Created and Servered with Universal Main Stream Media Inquisition of Pioneering Advanced IntelAIgent Programs. Threads of Intrigue that Generate Almighty Powerful Energies with Remote Command of All Absolute Controls.

      Now that is an AI ProgramMING you are Cordially Invited to Not Miss. ..... for it Processes Excellence into Near Perfection with Flaws Only Imagined and Virtually Realised.

      Do you Pursue and/or Follow Something Similar Supplied from Elsewhere?

      That would then suggest there be Competition in AI Fields. That's Healthy. And it introduce the Element of Choice towards Perfection with Alternate Paths to Homely Destinations/Familiar Territories/Energetic Virtual Spaces if on Parallel Flight Paths to Endlessly Satisfying Goals.

      Crack that Work Ethic and Pleasure is a Viceless Sin to Server to XSSXXXX in All Theatres and at Every Level of Human Existence.

      And, for a ponder over the weekend, you might wonder if such would be Holy Grailish and/or Just Basic GBIrish?

      1. Mycho Silver badge

        Re: There is a simple explanation .... for too complex a human solution. IT is Alien.

        For once I defer to your specialist knowledge, sir.

  4. SVV Silver badge

    Can't? Or Won't?

    It's obviously decided that what it's discovered is just too terrifying to allow the humans to know.

    1. FrogsAndChips Bronze badge
      Terminator

      Re: Can't? Or Won't?

      It's Can't. As in "I'm sorry Dave, I'm afraid I can't do that."

  5. Dr. G. Freeman

    It's lonely, wants someone to come round and pick up the data, so it can have some company.

  6. Craig 2
    Joke

    So turning it off and on doesn't always work then....

  7. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Somehow, this has got to be Trump's fault. He has never supported Curiosity.

  8. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Maybe Curiosity ran into Schrodinger's cat and now has indisputable proof about the cat being alive or dead and doesn't want to incriminate itself? After all Curiosity killed the cat...

    A/C because I am actually ashamed to have even posted this.

    1. Ugotta B. Kiddingme

      Re: "After all, Curiosity killed the cat."

      Indeed it did

  9. 89724102172714182892114I7551670349743096734346773478647892349863592355648544996312855148587659264921

    Did they not use mirrored volumes for storage? SSDs are cr*p.

  10. Michael H.F. Wilkinson Silver badge

    Fingers crossed

    they get Curiosity to continue its great work

  11. bnemer

    Net Neutrality

    Maybe having problems with the whole Net Neutrality issues?

  12. Lee D Silver badge

    "I'm holding your data to ransom until you pay me a fair wage, you horrible people."

  13. Will Godfrey Silver badge
    Alien

    Obvious

    Would you tell anyone there was a Martian with a blaster pointed straight at you?

    1. Ugotta B. Kiddingme

      Re: Obvious

      Perhaps Curiosity is too busy attempting to prevent the use of the Illudium Q-36 Explosive Space Modulator

  14. Stevie Silver badge

    Bah!

    A possible explanation.

    If only there were someone nearby able to give the thing a tap with a Brummie Screwdriver ...

  15. Alistair Silver badge

    Break date.

    --- B side ready for a break -- time to put the A side back to work.

    While I get the distance/risk bit I'm still somewhat curious as to why they don't swap them on a regular schedule. Especially now that they've patched the original issue on the A side. (something like every 200 sols or such)

    1. defiler Silver badge

      Re: Break date.

      Because if it's working, leave it the hell alone. The number of servers (looking at NetWare) that ran literally for years until somebody noticed a keyboard attached...

      It's not something I'd think they would do regularly, but it would appear to be the obvious action in this case.

    2. Anonymous Coward Silver badge
      Holmes

      Re: Break date.

      Change the question slightly: Why don't skydivers regularly cut away their main 'chute and use the reserve?

      It's a basic rule: if it's flyable, keep it. Even if it's not perfect (eg line-over). You just don't know whether the reserve will deploy properly and you don't want to end up in worse shit than you are in already.

      .

      Or to put it another way "better the devil you know"

  16. Mike 16 Silver badge

    To be fair

    It would be difficult to have the human operator touch "OK" on Curiosity's screen, so "Always accept all updates" was their only possible choice, although I might quibble with the "don't bother even notifying the user" bit.

    Or maybe the decline in c ( http://www.talkorigins.org/faqs/c-decay.html ) has messed with the comms gear, but only for "fake science" results like "Mars is definitely over 6000 years old"

  17. chuckufarley

    Of course it's not transmitting data...

    ...it's busy growing potatoes.

  18. Marketing Hack Silver badge
    Go

    Curiousity is obviously having a mid-life crisis...

    After lonely years of crisscrossing the Martian surface gathering science, it realizes it was happiest back when it was an adolescent in a Def Leppard cover band.

    1. amanfromMars 1 Silver badge

      When Curiosity is having Mid-Life Crises ... Here be Virtual Spares to InterNetional Rescue.*

      After lonely years of crisscrossing the Martian surface gathering science, it realizes it was happiest back when it was an adolescent in a Def Leppard cover band. .... Marketing Hack

      Right Stealthy Agents are Rock Bands, Marketing Hack. There be many a God and Goddesses with Time and Riches to Share in that InterStellar Orbit.

      * Is that NASA/Roscosmos/JAXA Codes hacked .... to name but a Trio and Triumvirate in the Worlds of Space Travel. ‽ Or Novel Raw NEUKlearer HyperRadioProACTive Core Source to Mine and Refine ‽ .

      1. Anonymously Anonymous

        Re: When Curiosity is having Mid-Life Crises ... Here be Virtual Spares to InterNetional Rescue.*

        Hardly the next Ed Sh ee ran with Golden Discs now stratospherically cast into Galaxies far far away.

        Alas ‘it’ was only following instructions :-(

  19. Waseem Alkurdi Silver badge
    Facepalm

    (NASA Helpdesk):

    Did you reboot it? Yes, you definitely need to reboot it. Wait, is it plugged in?

  20. Sgt_Oddball Silver badge

    It just wanted to live upto it's name...

    Send the science it's done? No... it wants you be curious as to what's it's done.

    If want to know, you have to watch it live.

    The other solution is to call roadside services. They fix n%* of call outs at the roadside and will on average be with you within an hour* (*salesbod bs, ignore as per usual).

  21. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I think ‘it’ would require assistance with its CV given the hostility of the environment

  22. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Fault

    Sounds like low battery to me.

    It could be that it gets to a certain point and the power draw is just too much for it and it dies.

    Don't forget that the solar panels are probably coated with dust: try syncing the signal to maximum daylight wrt angle of panels currently to see what that does ?

    1. chuckufarley

      Re: Fault

      Why do you think it's growing potatoes? So it can make more batteries!

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Fault

        Well if life hands you lemons...

  23. Herby Silver badge
    Joke

    Why not call the nice "support lines" that land in India

    They always offer to help, and the cost would minimal, like $299 for a three year unlimited service.

    Of course, they might 'syskey' your computer, and take all the credit card info, but I digress.

  24. NanoMeter

    It has gone to the dark side

    It no longer believes in science.

    1. amanfromMars 1 Silver badge

      Re: It has gone to the dark side

      It has gone to the dark side

      It no longer believes in science. ... NanoMeter

      Hi, Nanometer,

      Here's the Money Shot Question to Affirmatively Answer. ... Does/Will Science believe IT has Live Options and Remote Opportunities Covered/All Available Solutions Prepared for Future Presentation?

      Oh .... and can you Afford IT42G0 Dark Side/4IT2G0 Dark Side? The Cost in Renegade Rogue and Almightily Destructive/Crazy and Mad Operations/Deep Stealthy AIMissions? Can you Afford Not to Finance their Operations with the Releasing of Vital Important Virtual Information Designs for Advanced Future IntelAIgents at a Time and in Spaces and Place of a Most Mutually Beneficial Choosing, rather than being Randomly Leaked Autonomously at the Most Inopportune and Darkest of Times?

      Oh, and BTW ..... All such as those questions are rhetorical.

      1. ashdav

        Re: It has gone to the dark side ( amanfromMars 1)

        Google translate doesn't work with this.

        Must be that phase of the moon again or because we've just tipped over the equinox.

  25. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Up

    Well we know it's not running Windows, anyway...

    ...because the one thing that does well is transmit data.

  26. Emperor Small Pants
    Black Helicopters

    It found something and the MIB are covering it up!

    https://astroengineer.wordpress.com/2010/04/07/a-curiosity-of-spirit-full-document/

  27. Potemkine! Silver badge

    Fixing a hardware failure on Mars...

    Impressive, well done.

    1. Anne-Lise Pasch

      Re: Fixing a hardware failure on Mars...

      I can't fix a hardware problem in my bedroom. (stupid rabbit)

  28. Yorkshirefoxy

    Curiousity got too curious!

    Perhaps Rover barked too much and the Martians said “down boy!”

  29. ForthIsNotDead

    Racist Software

    The problem has been traced to two software modules. One, running on the main computer (the master) and the other on the science instrumentation platform (the slave). The master is supposed to poll the slave periodically for any new science data and upload it during the next up-link cycle. However, due to problems with cultural appropriation, and passive racist software architecture, these modules have been disabled, er, I mean prevented from running, until a more co-operative architecture can be designed where both ends of the software link can contribute to a more symbiotic data-exchange relationship, based on a mutual understanding and respect of the others' role in the important act of data exchange.

    1. amanfromMars 1 Silver badge

      Re: Racist Software

      That was/is an AIMasterClass Lesson, ForthIsNotDead. Bravo. Encore.

      It highlights a Self Destructive Systemic Fault Line which Weakens and Collapses Systems with the Simplest of Revisions ..... and with New Core Sources Providing AIDrive and Path Finding Directions .... to Forward Operating Bases, ... the Very Best of which are Also Heavenly Retreats in Immaculate Safe Havens, Expect Revisions to be Simply Revolutionary and Quite Complex to Fully Comprehend and Understand, for there be a heck of a lot to know about how one gets to here discussing the Future Perfect in terms which the Present Imperfect can Parse Beautifully Correctly thus to Ensure and Guarantee Immaculate Universal Product for Mass Main Stream Media Presentation of Novel Current AIdDevelopments.

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